A year after rioting and looting tore the city apart in the days after the death of George Floyd, Minneapolis is still picking up the pieces.
More than 1,500 businesses – most of them restaurants and retail stores throughout the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul – were damaged or destroyed.
Arsonists set fire to almost 150 buildings, dozens of which burned to the ground. Two people were killed, more than 600 were arrested, and scores were charged.
DailyMail.com returned to the riot-torn area this week and captured photos which show how the city has rebounded over the past 12 months.
It has been one year since the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota were torn asunder by rioters, looters, and arsonists who torched more than 1,500 businesses and inflicted $350million worth of damage in the days following the police-involved death of George Floyd. The images above show the Target retail store on Lake Street as it looks today compared to a year ago
The image on the left shows a damaged shopping center as it stands today. The image on the right shows National Guard soldiers on patrol during the unrest last year
The Target store on Lake Street suffered considerable damage during the unrest last year
In the image on the left, things appear tranquil near the entrance to the Target shopping center. The image on the right shows state police officers in riot gear protecting the area last year
Looters ransacked cell phone stores, tobacco shops, grocery stores, liquor stores, and pharmacies, with each establishment suffering losses in the thousands of dollars.
Over the course of three nights beginning on May 27, 2020, the Twin Cities incurred damages that exceeded $350million.
Rioters targeted several blocks worth of buildings in and around the Third and Fifth police precincts.
After arsonists set fire to the Third Precinct, at least 20 buildings nearby were destroyed, including several restaurants, an Auto Zone, a federal post office, and a multi-story affordable housing project still under construction.
This house on Lake Street in Minneapolis suffered considerable damage during the unrest last year
The images above show a looted and burned branch of US Bank as seen exactly a year ago in Minneapolis
National Guard troops were deployed to protect a shopping center on Lake Street in Minneapolis last year
The Lake Street area looked like a war zone a year ago. Today, things appear to have returned to normal
Looters ransacked cell phone stores, tobacco shops, grocery stores, liquor stores, and pharmacies, with each establishment suffering losses in the thousands of dollars
The Third Police Precinct in Minneapolis, where Floyd’s fatal arrest took place, was overtaken and ransacked by arsonists last year
The images above show another vantage point of Lake Street, where joggers go running. Last year, the scene was quite different
The next night, protesters converged on the area near the Fifth Precinct, where seven nearby buildings were damaged, including a post office, a Wells Fargo branch, a staffing agency, and a Subway.
One area that incurred one of the highest concentrations of property damage during the unrest was Midtown Global market, where more than a dozen businesses near East Lake Street and Chicago Avenue were burned to the ground.
Less than two miles to the west, in the area that encompasses Hennepin Avenue and West Lake Street, some 40 businesses were ransacked and looted, including retail stores H&M, Timberland, an Apple store, Kitchen Window, and Urban Outfitters.
The unrest spread to St. Paul as well as nearby suburbs including Blaine, Apple Valley, Richfield, North St. Paul, Maplewood, Brooklyn Center, and Roseville.
Protests first erupted on Tuesday, May 26, a day after Floyd’s death in a confrontation with police captured on widely seen citizen video.
On the video, Floyd can be seen pleading as Officer Derek Chauvin presses his knee against him.
As minutes pass, Floyd slowly stops talking and moving. The Third Precinct covers the portion of south Minneapolis where Floyd was arrested.
On May 28, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz activated the National Guard at the Minneapolis mayor’s request, but it was too late.
No National Guards members were seen during protests in Minneapolis or St. Paul.
The Guard tweeted minutes after the precinct burned that it had activated more than 500 soldiers across the metro area.
Dozens of businesses across the Twin Cities boarded up their windows and doors in an effort to prevent looting, with Minneapolis-based Target announcing it was temporarily closing two dozen area stores.
Minneapolis shut down nearly its entire light-rail system and all bus service out of safety concerns.
In St. Paul, clouds of smoke hung in the air as police armed with batons and wearing gas masks and body armor kept a watchful eye on protesters along one of the city’s main commercial corridors, where firefighters also sprayed water onto a series of small fires.
At one point, officers stood in line in front of a Target, trying to keep out looters, who were also smashing windows of other businesses.
On May 28, hundreds of demonstrators returned to the Minneapolis neighborhood at the center of the violence, where the nighttime scene veered between an angry protest and a street party.
The image above shows a mob of protesters outside the Third Precinct during the three days of unrest in Minneapolis last year
Protesters are seen above carrying signs and marching during a demonstration on Lake Street on May 29, 2020
The image above shows one of the shopping centers that was burned to the ground in Minneapolis last year
Masses of demonstrators and protesters took to the streets of Minneapolis on May 29, 2020
Floyd’s death sparked outrage and protests across the country and throughout the world. The image above shows a demonstration on Lake Street in Minneapolis on May 29, 2020
At one point, a band playing in a parking lot across from the Third Precinct broke into a punk version of Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption Song.’
Nearby, demonstrators carried clothing mannequins from a looted Target and threw them onto a burning car. Later, a building fire erupted nearby.
But elsewhere in Minneapolis, thousands of peaceful demonstrators marched through the streets calling for justice.
Much of the Minneapolis violence occurred in the Longfellow neighborhood, where protesters converged on the precinct station of the police who arrested Floyd.
In a strip mall across the street from the Third Precinct station, the windows in nearly every business had been smashed, from the large Target department store at one end to the Planet Fitness gym at the other.
Only the 24-hour laundromat appeared to have escaped unscathed.
‘WHY US?’ demanded a large expanse of red graffiti scrawled on the wall of the Target.
A Wendy’s restaurant across the street was charred almost beyond recognition.
Among the casualties of the overnight fires: a six-story building under construction that was to provide nearly 200 apartments of affordable housing.
‘We’re burning our own neighborhood,’ said a distraught Deona Brown, a 24-year-old woman standing with a friend outside the precinct station, where a small group of protesters were shouting at a dozen or so stone-faced police officers in riot gear.
‘This is where we live, where we shop, and they destroyed it.’
No officers could be seen beyond the station.
‘What that cop did was wrong, but I’m scared now,’ Brown said.
Last month, Derek Chauvin, the officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck, was convicted of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The other three police officers involved in Floyd’s arrest will stand trial this summer. Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for mid-June.
Others in the crowd saw something different in the wreckage.
Protesters destroyed property ‘because the system is broken,’ said a young man who identified himself only by his nickname, Cash, and who said he had been in the streets during the violence.
He dismissed the idea that the destruction would hurt residents of the largely black neighborhood.
‘They’re making money off of us,’ he said angrily of the owners of the destroyed stores.
He laughed when asked if he had joined in the looting or violence.
‘I didn’t break anything.’
The protests that began on the night of May 27 and extended into the next day were more violent than those on May 26, which included skirmishes between offices and protesters but no widespread property damage.
Mayor Jacob Frey appealed for calm but the city’s response to the protests was quickly questioned as things started spiraling into violence.
‘If the strategy was to keep residents safe – it failed,’ City Council Member Jeremiah Ellison, who is black, tweeted.
‘Prevent property damage – it failed.’
Fire crews responded to about 30 intentionally set blazes, and multiple fire trucks were damaged by rocks and other projectiles, the fire department said. No one was hurt by the blazes.
Last month, Chauvin, the officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck, was convicted of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The other three police officers involved in Floyd’s arrest will stand trial this summer.
Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for mid-June.